It’s that time of year again when many brands join in on the fray to celebrate Pride Month. Consumers are bombarded with images and ads of rainbow-themed attire, accessories, wigs, and social media posts from brands professing their support of the LGBTQ+ community.
Traditionally, Pride Month is a time to come together and show support, celebrate, and authentically honor the contributions made by those in the LGBTQ+ community. However, whether you are a member or an ally of the community, you can’t help but notice how many brands have made it a trend to support Pride Month rather than be authentically engaged with the community.
Pride Month is not a trend, nor should it be treated that way. Here are four tips to keep in mind to ensure your brand is able to create an authentic and meaningful social campaign that keeps you in the “Ally Zone.”
Tip 1: Are You Really An Ally?
Start with this question – As a brand, are we a steadfast ally of the LGBTQ+ community? If you haven’t established a genuine relationship, either within your own company or beyond, with the LGBTQ+ community, you may not be. So launching a campaign without any relation could get your brand called on the mat for commercialization and “rainbow-washing.
So it is essential to start within – your employees. Get a wide range of opinions from LGBTQ+ community members as well as allies to help plan any celebrations and/or social campaigns. If your organization has a diversity group or committee, collaborate with them. If not, gathering employees with diverse viewpoints and backgrounds will serve as an ideal alternative. And if possible, always compensate volunteers for their labor and time in a significant way (gift cards, vacation time, bonus, etc.).
Tip 2: Align Your Brand Identity With Pride Month Activism
For members of the LGBTQ+ community and true allies, seeing a brand that only sells clothing during Pride screams of “performative allyship.” Therefore, remember to stay in your service or product lane for your activation. While it is fantastic to see collaborations, your celebration should align with what you already do. It validates your public support and adds to your brand’s credibility.
Tip 3: Employee Ambassadors #FTW
One of the best ways for brands to showcase their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community is by sharing how your company’s internal practices and policies align with those of Pride Month. For instance, Disney World employees staged a walkout in protest of the brand’s initial neutral response to the controversial Florida bill, “Don’t Say Gay.” However, Disney put its money where its mouth was by standing with the employees, denouncing the bill, and working to repeal the law, and even donated $5M to organizations like the Human Rights Campaign. Actions like this demonstrate that the brand supports its LGBTQ+ employees and the community. More than anything, year-round support of the community is far more critical than any clever annual social campaign could be.
Tip 4: Impact On The Community
Pride Month not only commemorates all the work that has been done in the past but the work still needed. More must be done to ensure the rights and liberties of the LGBTQ+ community are the same as everyone else, regardless of orientation. When creating a social campaign, brands should be mindful of the impact they can make within the community – providing information, money, or resources.
Bombas is an excellent example of a brand that used its social content to uplift the community while sharing its commitment to helping those within the community – “One Bombas purchased. One Bombas donated”. Fans of the brands appreciated the support and expressed their love for the giveback initiative.
Numerous brands participate in Pride successfully, and the tips above are great examples because they cover the three critical questions a brand should ask themselves:
- What is my brand doing internally to support LGBTQ+ rights, and are my employees involved?
- Does this campaign align with who we are and what we do as a brand?
- How can I ensure the most significant impact on the community through this campaign?
Using these questions as a guide will help you develop an authentic and impactful Pride month campaign. Keep in mind that it is not about your brand, service, or product; it is about the LGBTQ+ community and how to create a positive impact for them. Anything less than that, you may find your brand on an episode of #BrandRewind!